Americo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies

Doctoral Student Ken MacLeish Blogs to Savage Minds

Thu, October 1, 2009

Anthropology's Folklore and Public Culture's Department has a vibrant and active body of Graduate Students.  Ken MacLeish shares his thoughts by contributing a guest post on a popular anthropology blog (Savage Minds: 

At the end of July this year, media outlets all over the country picked up a story from Colorado Springs, home to the U.S. Army’s Ft. Carson, about a spate of violent crimes committed by soldiers. Most of the soldiers were from a single infantry battalion that had served two arduous tours in Iraq and had seen some of the bloodiest (for U.S. forces) fighting of the war—in Ramadi in 2004 and Baghdad in 2006. Between these two tours, the 3,700-person brigade to which the battalion was attached sustained over half of all the casualties of all units at Ft. Carson. The crimes include ten arrests for murder or manslaughter, along with kidnapping, rape and other violent crimes. There were also suicide attempts, some of them successful. Many of the soldiers who were charged had engaged in excessive or indiscriminate violence against civilians in Iraq and also demonstrated dire combat stress reactions both in Iraq and at home. But the stories gathered by Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Dave Phillips suggests that the unit commanders were interested neither in punishing the soldiers nor in helping them. They were indifferent or even hostile to parents, wives, and girlfriends and to soldiers themselves who sought assistance. So they languished without help, self-medicated with drugs and alcohol, and went on to commit more violent acts, Phillips writes.

Bookmark and Share

  • Americo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    SAC 4.102, 2201 Speedway
    Austin, TX, 78712